Israel has been deemed the largest recipient of
U.S. military aid and a beneficiary of terms denied most other U.S. allies.
A recent report by the Congressional Research Service listed details of
U.S. military and security aid to Israel as well as what the study termed
the unique aspects of Washington's assistance.
The report, entitled "Israel:
U.S. Foreign Assistance," asserted that U.S. military aid has been used to
finance military purchases in Israel as well as research and development in
the United States, Middle East Newsline reported.
"U.S. aid to Israel has some unique aspects, such as loans with
repayment waived, or a pledge to provide Israel with economic
assistance equal to the amount Israel owes the United States for previous
loans," Clyde Mark author of the report, wrote. "Israel also receives
special benefits that
may not be available to other countries, such as the use of U.S. military
assistance for research and development in the United States, the use of
U.S. military assistance for military purchases in Israel, or receiving all
its assistance in the first 30 days of the fiscal year rather than in three
installments as other countries do."
The report, released in July 2004, listed a series of Israeli-U.S.
projects as well as U.S. aid to Israeli military programs. CRS said the
United States has given Israel $625 million to develop and deploy
the Arrow-2 missile defense system as well as $1.3 billion to develop the
Lavi aircraft, cancelled in 1987.
CRS said the United States allocated $200 million for Israel to develop
the Merkava main battle tank, the backbone of the nation's armored fleet.
The report said Israel received $107 million in 1977 to develop the Merkava
tank. Another $130 million in U.S. aid was used to develop the Israeli-U.S.
Theater High-Energy Laser, or THEL, program.
The report said Israel has also been allowed to employ U.S. military aid
for offsets meant to benefit Israel's defense industry. CRS termed this
practice unusual because Foreign Military Financing program was intended to
sell U.S. goods
"Other countries primarily deal with DOD [Department of Defense]
for purchases from U.S. companies for U.S. military items, but Israel deals
directly with U.S. companies for 99 percent of its military purchases
in the United States," the report said. "Other countries have a $100,000
minimum purchase amount per contract, but Israel is allowed to purchase
military items for less than $100,000."
The report said the U.S. government, in an unusual arrangement, does
not disburse military funds to U.S. defense contractors for Israeli
purchases. Instead, the Israeli Purchasing Mission in New York pays the
American companies and is later reimbursed by the U.S. Treasury.